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The world is closely watching the aftershocks in America

PARIS (AP) – For America’s allies and rivals, the chaos unfolding in Donald Trump’s last days as president is the logical result of four years of global instability caused by the man who promised to change the way the world views the United States.

From the outside, the United States has never looked so vulnerable – or unpredictable.

The alliances, which have lasted for generations, have disintegrated to a turning point in Trump’s time, from his decision to abandon the Paris Climate Agreement and the nuclear deal with Iran to leaving the World Health Organization amid a pandemic.

And then, in an attempt to undo his loss to Joe Biden, Trump overcame the basic principle of democratic elections that the United States has tried ̵

1; and sometimes even succeeded in doing – around the world. It is not clear how long these aftershocks can last.

“This is one of the biggest tasks of the future for America and Europe – to fight the polarization of society at its roots,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. “We will only be able to keep the faith in unity, in democracy as the most humane form of statehood and the belief in science and reason, only if we do it together.”

But in many ways, Europe has already moved forward, advancing the deal with Iran, negotiating a trade agreement with China led by Germany and organizing global action to protect the environment.

The same day, an angry mob stormed the Capitol to try to overturn Biden’s presidential election, and a record number of Americans died of coronavirus. Another recent event also showed US vulnerability: the cyber espionage operation is still making its way through countless government computers and accusing elite Russian hackers.

World leaders who have seen the deadly violence in Washington “will have to consider whether these events are an extraordinary event – a ‘black swan’ – or whether these extremist white top groups will continue to have a significant impact. in the direction of US foreign and domestic policy, instead of backing down with the end of the Trump administration, “Soufan Group, a global intelligence and security firm, wrote on Tuesday.

People tend to think of fragile states “in terms of war as the biggest problem, not violence, but the idea of ​​a collapse of the state as the biggest problem, not states that are falling apart internally,” said Rachel Kleinfeld, a scientist on democracy and violence at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Klinefeld, like many others, said the attack on the US Capitol may have developed in a matter of weeks, but has been going on for years.

And the United States’ ability to fight for democracy was tarnished before the mob fired by Trump tried to undo its election loss. For many, these events were just confirmation.

Opponents, including Russia, China and Iran, have used violence to question US democracy in general.

In an internal note on the State Department’s “dissident channel.” received from the Associated Press, U.S. diplomats said Trump’s actions hampered their work. “It is crucial to let the world know that in our system, no one – not even the president – is above the law and immune to public criticism,” the note said. “This would be the first step towards repairing the damage done to our international trust.”

However, Trump showed no grief, saying on Tuesday that his fiery remarks to supporters were “perfectly appropriate.”

In Iraq, a country still struggling with the controversial legacy of the American invasion in the name of democracy, many people followed the events in Washington with a mixture of shock and fascination.

Then-US President George W. Bush boasted that Iraq would become a model of democracy in a region ruled by dictators. Instead, the country fell into a protracted Sunni-Shiite war that killed tens of thousands of people. Although there is an active parliament and regular elections, it is a dysfunctional democracy based on a sectarian power-sharing agreement, with corrupt parties bargaining for ministries and positions so they can hire supporters while lining their pockets.

Ahmad al-Helfi, a 39-year-old Iraqi political cartoonist, said what happened at the US Capitol was a blow to democracy, which he was trying to bring to Iraq and other countries.

“By mobilizing his followers in an attempt to undo the election results, Trump has confirmed that instead of exporting democracy to Iraq, America has brought chaos, a turbulent transition of power and non-acceptance of the election results,” al-Helfi said.

Anahita Thoms, a German lawyer and trade expert who has lived and worked in the United States for years, said last week’s events would indelibly mark America’s image abroad. Thoms is a board member of the Atlantic Bridge, a think tank that promotes cooperation between Europe and the United States, the kind of organization founded after World War II, when the United States helped rebuild the economies of many Western European countries that were destroyed by the war.

Germany was one of the countries that benefited most from these US efforts to build finance and democracy.

Looking ahead, she said US officials may have a harder time promoting democracy abroad.

“The United States remains a country that lives by its democratic values. But this aspiration, which is very strongly presented to the outside world, should not get too many cracks, “said Toms. “I think it will take a lot of diplomatic skill to counter these pictures.”

The International Crisis Group, which typically focuses on global war zones, has written its first assessment of the risk of election-related violence. in the United States in October. Stephen Pomper, who helped lead the report and lives in the DC area, said that under the best of circumstances, the United States could eventually point to Congress’ decision to resume certification of Biden’s election after the violation as a first step in successful defending its democracy.

“Look, we created these institutions. They have really become a source of sustainability for us. They helped us get through this very difficult period. “Let us help you develop the same kind of resilience,” he said, describing a hypothetical future conversation between the United States and the troubled government. “It would be a positive story that you can tell at some point, but I don’t think the songs are still there.”

Pope Francis was more optimistic when he told Italian TV Mediaset: “Thank God, this exploded” in the open because “we were able to understand why this is and how it can be removed.”


Associated Press writers Kirsten Grishaber and Frank Jordans in Berlin, Abdulrahman Zeyad in Baghdad, Matt Lee in Washington; and Frank Bajac in Boston.

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